- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Frenchy's blind faith; his one great strength.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 10, 1999 at 21:58:12:

In Reply to: Hungry?? Have a high-tech bio-burger... posted by Frenchy on December 10, 1999 at 00:52:17:

: $Let me guess, this is gonna be tough, my crystal ball says....yes, I see it now, it's becoming clearer, now it's coming into focus.....Yes! Farintina will say that this doesn't count because my sources are unreliable and not as scientific as his sources!
: Let's see if my crystal ball is right.....Farintina?

Firstly, have I ever said I was opposed to genetic modification?

That said, it is not currently required and moderation of consumption is an easier solution; the fact remains that even with a world population double today's, the world could be fed using a vegetarian diet; since a vegetarian diet is 35 times more efficient in terms of fossil fuel consumption and yielded energy and 250 times more efficient in terms of water usage as well as being healthier for the human body.

In addition, there is considerable evidence to suggest that a) genetic modifications can spread from commercially-produced biota to their wild cousins and b) toxins like lectins and Bt-toxin escape from the GM crop and affect the local ecology; in particular, Bt-toxin can stay in the soil up to 3 weeks after the crop is harvested. Screw up the local ecology and you can end up damaging the Earth bigtime.

There's nothing inherently Satanic about GM; but it definitely isn't ready for the big time yet; not until we know a whole lot more about genetics than we do now; a good 25-30 years' knowledge.

Thirdly, the major progress in biotechnology is currently being made by private companies; not the academic community at large. This means that GM companies have a vested interest in not making their results public, because they contain commercially sensitive data.

The "we need to do it to feed the starving" is a red herring, in fact. The biotech companies prime motive is profit; it has to be profit, as they are commercial companies with shareholders. Which is probably why Monsanto's Corporate Communications Director said;

"We should not have to vouch for the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as we can".

Can't you see the selfless compassion there, Frenchy?

If GM research was done on a non-profit Open Source basis, then it might be possible to place the research under sufficiently thorough academic peer review; but it isn't and can't be, because shareholder revenues depend on it.

Which means that someone will release a Roundup-Ready crop into the wild; it will cross-pollinate similar grasses, and all of the grasses will become Roundup-resistant sooner or later; including the weeds. Bang goes the usefulness of that modification.

It's called evolution, Frenchy; it's what scientists are trying to speed up. But you can't really contain life-forms that easily; they are messy by nature and don't stay where you put them.

The current state of the biotech industry is somewhat similar to the infancy of the nuclear industry; promises were made of "electricity too cheap to meter" and "the end to the energy crisis". Well, 50 years later, nuclear energy is in fact 3 times as expensive as any other form to produce; and there are large areas rendered uninhabitable or dangerous by nuclear contamination. Techno-fixes are chimeras; they promise an easy cure, but don't actually treat the malady.

Tell you what, Frenchy. Take up a 50-a-day smoking habit, then go to your doctor and tell him that you need hospital treatment right away because of your smoking. See what he says.


(not to say that I don't derive a whole heap of entertainment from an American Christian fundamentalist defending the right of humanity to play God...)

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